Jimmy Butler details awkward meeting before infamous Sixers film session in Portland
Jimmy Butler revealed the untold story of his awkward mid-season meeting before the scandalous film session prior to a game against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Miami Heat star spoke with his former Philadelphia 76ers teammate JJ Redick as a guest on his podcast to delve into what was said at that meeting.
Transcript via Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice:
Redick: So Brett brings me, [Joel Embiid], and [Ben Simmons], this is pre Tobias [Harris] trade.
Butler: And we are all sitting in there and nothing got accomplished at all. So I was like, and I told you this when I walked out, ‘JJ why would I ever go back in there again? Nothing is getting accomplished, nobody is saying nothing to anybody and we just sitting in here watching film’ and you can literally hear the thing just clicking and we are all just looking around.”
“Now I may have just been 2 or 3 weeks there tops. So you know what, I’m sitting back and I’m watching, I ain’t saying nothing because don’t nobody know me like that. If you go by what you read what do you think about me? I am sitting there relaxing, these guys think I’m an a**hole anyways, let me be quiet. I am hearing the click click, looking around. Click, click. ‘Alright guys let’s go practice.’ Why did we just go through this? That’s literally what’s going on in my head.
So I come to you, I say ‘JJ why would I go back in there again? We didn’t do nothing, nothing got accomplished.’
Butler acknowledged that his heated interaction with Sixers coach Brett Brown (which no one on the team really viewed as irresponsible), was the result of pent-up frustration that had been building in the prior weeks.
Butler: So now we fast forward to how many weeks is over there and we are in Portland and then that happens during the film session because once again, wasn’t nobody saying nothing. So who was the individual who decided to finally say something?”
Redick: Here’s the f***ed up part. You did one thing wrong. Nothing you said about the team was wrong, I thought your interaction with Brett that day was a normal interaction I don’t know why it got reported the way it did. You were coming off whatever happened in Chicago and whatever happened in Minnesota, I get it. Nothing was weird, but basically he was like ‘There are some tweaks to the offense I think some other guys fell the same way’ and who did he throw under the bus? You threw the nicest guy under the bus, you threw TJ McConnell under the bus.
Butler: I did not throw him under the bus, I did not say his name. I did not say that. This is what I did. I did not say TJ. [Brett Brown] said ‘Who all feels a type of way about it?’ Now keep in mind, everyone comes and talks to me because they know I am not afraid to be the a**hole. So obviously I talked to [TJ]. Brett asked a great question, ‘Who else feels a type of way about something?’ All I did, I didn’t hear nothing behind me, I just knew somebody was going to speak up because I talked to about five people… crickets.
So I turned around the first person I just happened to lock eyes with was TJ. So, [assistant coach] Monty [Williams] goes ‘Yo for real, now’s the time.’ TJ was like ‘Now you know…’ and I was like, ‘TJ say what you got to say.’ And I love TJ, I talk to TJ all the time, but I just feel like it’s OK to speak your mind, ain’t nothing wrong with it. The worst thing Brett could have said is ‘Fuck you, no,’ and then you go back to being quiet. At least you got to say what you wanted to say.
McConnell wanted to be a bigger part of the rotation. Butler agreed. What upset Butler is the way things ran in film sessions and meetings was unlike anything he’d experienced before.
No discussions, no back-and-forths between players and coaches, just people sitting in a room, looking at film — without anyone holding the other accountable for the mistakes or missed assignments.
Butler has built a career out of his leadership and that simply wasn’t happening in Philly, where everyone was too afraid to say the things that needed to be said.